The regional high school committee this week continued to grapple with how to handle gender-specific chaperoning of sports teams for off-Island events.

The issue came up last month when school committee members Kim Kirk and Robert Lionette voiced concerns that athletes sometimes go off-Island for sports trips without an adult chaperone of their gender to accompany them.

For upcoming fall sports, teams where that will be the case include women’s soccer and women’s cross country. Both teams have female athletes and male coaches. In field hockey, there are female coaches and one male player.

At the district school committee meeting Monday, principal Sara Dingledy cautioned committee members to think the policy through before adopting it.

“There will be forfeits, and there will be a cost academically,” she said. She also said logistically finding chaperones for each off-Island trip could take teachers away from classes and hike costs for athletics. She suggested an end-of-season survey to gather input from athletes, coaches, and parents about the issue before any formal action is taken.

Ms. Kirk and Mr. Lionette were unconvinced.

“I think we’re a policy-making body, and I don’t think we make policy by waiting until the season ends,” Ms. Kirk said. “From a coach’s perspective, from a school’s perspective, from anyone’s perspective... I can’t even believe we would consider waiting to see what parents think after the fact.”

Mr. Lionette agreed. “It’s almost a common sense approach,” he said. “If there are steps we can take, I don’t see why we wouldn’t take those steps.”

A lengthy discussion of how best to recruit, train and pay chaperones ensued. Some school committee members felt parents from sports’ booster clubs would be willing to go with teams on trips. Others were uncomfortable with the idea of a teammate’s parent playing that role. School accountant Mark Friedman said funding an on-call position is challenging from a budgeting perspective, as game schedules are likely to change.

Track coach Joe Schroeder was present and outlined what a typical fall schedule looks like for away games across all sports.

“You’re looking at 20 dates out of the building before the month of November starts,” he said.

In the end the committee agreed to ask interim assistant principal Jeremy Light to review other high schools’ policies on chaperoning sports teams.

But citing qualms about the chaperoning issue, Mr. Lionette, Ms. Kirk, and Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd voted against Ms. Dingledy’s proposed athletic handbook until the issue is resolved. (Mr. Manter had some additional concerns about the handbook’s chemical use policy and parking for students driving themselves to the ferry.) With fall sports around the corner, that means the high school is without an athletic handbook until the school committee can agree on chaperoning rules.

In other business, Sam Hart, executive director of ACE MV, the Island’s adult education organization, began a presentation about further aligning his program’s mission with the high school and high school students.

Discussion was cut short when one committee member had to leave early and a quorum was lost.